Alternate Traits and Actions
The following changes allow GMs to alter a light drake without modifying its challenge rating.
Light Form. As an action, a light drake can transform itself into pure light. In this form, it gains damage resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical attacks. It can also move through other creatures and objects as if they were difficult terrain, but it takes 5 (1d10) force damage if it ends its turn inside an object. Additionally, while in sunlight, the drake can take the Hide action as a bonus action. In this form, the drake cannot use its breath weapon, and its bite attack deals 4 (1d4 + 2) radiant damage on a hit.
The light drake gains the following trait:
- Darkness Sensitivity. While in dim light or darkness, the drake has disadvantage on attack rolls as well as on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.
Turn Undead (Recharge 6). As an action, a light drake can generate a flash of light that causes unease in undead. Each undead that can see the light drake and within 30 feet of the drake must make a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw. If the creature fails its saving throw, it is turned for 1 minute or until it takes any damage. A turned creature must spend its turns trying to move as far away from the drake as it can, and it can’t willingly move to a space within 30 feet of the drake. It also can’t take reactions. For its action, it can only use the Dash action or try to escape from an effect that prevents it from moving. If there’s nowhere to move, the creature can use the Dodge action.
The light drake loses its breath weapon. Alternatively, this action and its breath weapon become useable 1/day.
Light Drake Swarm
Medium swarm of Tiny dragons, neutral good
Armor Class 13
Hit Points 49 (14d4 + 14)
Speed 20 ft., fly 60 ft. (hover)
|7 (−2)||16 (+3)||13 (+1)||8 (−1)||12 (+1)||14 (+2)|
Skills Acrobatics +5, Perception +3
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, slashing
Condition Immunities charmed, frighted, grappled, prone, restrained, stunned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 13
Languages Common, Draconic
Challenge 2 (450 XP)
Reflective Scales. When a light drake swarm is within 10 feet of a source of light, that source of light sheds bright and dim light for an additional 20 feet. While the swarm carries an object that sheds light from the daylight spell, the light within 20 feet of the swarm is sunlight.
Innate Spellcasting. The swarm’s innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 12, +4 to hit with spell attacks). The swarm can cast a spell as a bonus action, but doing so reduces its current hit points by 5. The swarm can use a bonus action to regain those lost hp. It can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
- At will: dancing lights, light, locate animals or plants (or guiding star*), sacred flame (or starburst*)
- 3/day each: color spray, faerie fire
* (see Deep Magic)
Swarm. The swarm can occupy another creature’s space and vice versa, and the swarm can move through any opening large enough for a Tiny light drake. The swarm can’t regain hp or gain temporary hp (with the exception of their Innate Spellcasting).
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 0 ft., one creature in the swarm’s space. Hit: 18 (4d8) piercing damage, or 9 (2d8) piercing damage if the swarm has half of its hp or fewer.
Burst of Light (Recharge 6). A light drake swarm can release a ball of brilliant light in a 30-foot-radius burst centered on it. Each creature in that area must make a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw. On a failure, a creature takes 9 (2d8) radiant damage and is blinded for 1 minute. On a success, a creature takes half the damage and isn’t blinded. A blinded creature can make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
New Magic Items and Spells
The following magic items and spell are inspired by abilities possessed by a light drake.
Weapon (whip), rare
This whip seems to have filaments of light interwoven within its strands. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this whip. A creature hit by this weapon takes an extra 1d4 radiant damage. When you roll a 20 on your attack roll with the whip, the target is blinded until the end of its next turn.
The whip has 3 charges, and it regains 1d3 expended charges daily at dawn or when exposed to a daylight spell for 1 minute. While wielding the whip, you can use a bonus action to expend 1 of its charges to attack all creatures in a 30-foot line with the whip. You make a single attack roll against all creatures in the area. If any of the creatures are undead, you have advantage on your attack roll.
2nd-level transmutation (cleric, druid, paladin, ranger)
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self (15-foot radius)
Components V, S, M (scale from a light drake)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
When you are within range of a light source, that source of light sheds bright light and dim light for an additional 10 feet. If the object sheds light from the daylight spell, the light within 10 feet of the object is considered sunlight. If you move out of range of the light source, it immediately reverts to its normal illumination.
Evocation cantrip (cleric, druid, sorcerer, wizard)
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S
A ray of sunlight shoots out at a creature within range. Make a ranged spell attack against the target. On a hit, it takes 1d6 radiant damage, and it must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or become blinded until the end of its next turn.
The spell’s damage increases by 1d6 when you reach 5th level (2d6), 11th level (3d6), and 17th level (4d6).
Light Drake Adventure Hooks
- A ghoul stole a light drake’s most valued trinket. The drake worries the creature belongs to a den of ghouls, so the drake recruits a group of stalwarts to help it retrieve its treasure. The drake offers to serve as a familiar to a wizard for the duration of the quest and may continue its service afterward.
- A gnome sells “magic” lanterns for a surprisingly low sum. Closer inspection of a lantern reveals that has a cheap gem enchanted by the equivalent of a light The lantern also contains an unconscious light drake. If a PC buys one of the lanterns, a group of light drakes eventually attacks the PCs. Tracing the lantern back to the gnome salesperson peels back the surface of a mercantile concern dealing in additional, and more powerful, items exploiting other fantastic creatures.
I’ll be turning my attention to the newly released Tome of Beasts 2 in future installments. If you’ve got a favorite from that book, please let me know in the comments or elsewhere in the kobold warrens, and I’ll make sure to add it to the queue.
The Tome Unbound series fleshes out monsters from the Tome of Beasts 2, giving GMs ways to modify the existing monsters to surprise well-prepared players or to introduce monsters to a campaign.